Learning is child’s play

3 May 2017

Youngsters from across Preston enjoy sports sessions run by University students

Youngsters from across the county have been learning through sport thanks to a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Healthy Schools’ Project.

Schoolchildren from across Preston and South Ribble have attended special sessions organised and run by second and third year sports studies and sports business management undergraduates.

The half day and day-long sessions have seen more than 650 pupils, ranging from Year 3 to Year 9, take part in cricket, football, tag rugby, hockey, rounders, ultimate frisbee and orienteering. Some of the children attended UCLan’s Sports Arena or the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre while other activities took place at the schools.

Lecturer Chris Gunn said: “The Healthy Schools’ Project links our students with local schools, providing sporting and active opportunities for their pupils. This enables schools to provide alternative, yet developmental, experiences for their pupils, for example the schools might want to encourage confidence, team work or communication in their pupils or want us to run a session which is about encouraging healthy competition. Our students gain experience of teaching, planning, delivering sports and physical activities for a wide range of children and with a remit that is picked by the schools.”

"This is a chance for the children to have fun working together in teams to learn about mental and physical health."

Michael Stoneley, a third year sports studies student from Wigan, was also involved in the project last year. He said: “It’s a really good live project to work on because we’re dealing with different people at different schools who all have their own ideas of what they want their pupils to do. Working on this project is really equipping me with the skills for when I graduate and enter the world of work, it enhances my portfolio and that can only be a good thing.”

St Peter’s CE Primary School, in Fulwood; Penwortham Priory Academy; Preston Muslim Girls High School; and Trinity St Michael’s CE and Methodist Primary School, in Croston, were among the schools who participated.

It is the second year running that Trinity St Michael’s has attended one of these sessions. Becky Chadwick, teaching assistant and assistant lead for PE, said: “This is a chance for the children to have fun working together in teams to learn about mental and physical health. Sometimes sport isn’t for everybody but this event shows there’s something for every child to get involved with, it’s also great to experience the fantastic facilities.”

The students also work closely with external groups, including the South Ribble Schools Sports Partnership, and aim to have a positive impact on Sport England and national governing bodies’ strategies, including the England and Wales Cricket Board ‘Cricket Unleashed’ and the All Stars Cricket initiative.